The American Curl Kitten that made history

Cats Human Classroom

The appearance of the American Curl was something that the human being did not expect, but it caused such an impact that it took a rather short time to reach the records on famous and respected organizations of the feline breeds. I understand that what draws the most attention to this particular breed is the shape of its ears and its name derives from this aspect, being something unique in its form but not the only cat breed with this type of unique ears alteration, it can have great similarity with the Scottish Fold. Like the Scottish, the American Curl obtained this characteristic by an alteration in its genetics. But, something that differs greatly is that the Curl does not have changes that seriously affect their quality of life. It is still a new breed so there is a lot to discover, if you are cat lovers and interested in learning about this new and fascinating breed I invite you to learn a little about this cat before you adopt an American Curl kitten just for its looks.

HISTORY

It could have been destiny or coincidence, but the story of the American Curl is very similar to those anecdotes that you humans call “fairytales”. Perhaps, it could even have its movie. Being something that in these times is very common in what you call “cinema”, this feline went from being in the streets of California to be a pedigree breed in less than 10 years. Being a story that starts a few years ago compared to other breeds such as the Siberian or the Korat cat, there are records with great accuracy about their origin but depending on where you get to read about this breed the story has a twist or two that changes it a little, making it a little spicier. Through the help of science, they were able to determine that this change in the shape of their ears is due to a dominant gene. So, it will always be present at the moment of making a cross with any other breed, which originated an immense variety of presentations or variations in the same aspect of the cat. That is to say, a cat that does not have this gene will never be able to have kittens with this characteristic, while one that does have it will have for sure that within the new litter the kittens will have this curvature in their ears.

Shulamith is the name of the mother cat, or the one registered as the cat that gave birth to this amazing breed, where some authors indicate that she arrived at a family home together with a companion who, besides not having this peculiarity in her ears, died shortly after their arrival to that home in California. It was not because of an oversight or mismanagement by the new owners, it was simply something that happened, and not because they “self-adopted” these people treated them badly. This happened in 1981, that these stray cats arrived in their new home and were blessed by some excellent owners, shortly after, Shulamith had 4 kittens, where 2 of them had the ear gene and the other 2 did not. When they saw this, their owners decided to investigate a little bit to see which breed was their new cat but they did not find one that matched their description. By 1983, after another litter of kittens with these curved ears, they came into the hands of breeders who quickly fell in love with this new cat, not only because of its appearance but also because of its excellent and unmatched personality, where they began programs for its reproduction giving birth to the great variety that is known and registered to this day. In 1987 they began to take some presence in organizations but the first one to register this breed was The International Cat Association and it was not until 1993 that it was recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association. Besides this, they are the only breed that is recognized by the CFA with two presentations in terms of hair length. 

DESCRIPTION

Picture from Mental floss

The American Curl is a medium sized cat with a long body. Despite this, they have a good bone structure and physical conformation that helps them to maintain a general physical structure and that it is not such a delicate cat. They have an average life span of up to 15 years but there have been cases where cats can last longer, as they have always been considered long-lived pets. It may not be as much as some species of birds, though everything will always depend on the handling and care you give your pet as well as its predisposition to suffer from certain diseases. In this kind of breeds with genetic alterations that can be seen as a box of surprises where in some moment they can develop some other change that can be harmful and not simply aesthetic. From the beginning, the Curl breed has had variations in its conformation but like all breeds, certain aspects remain constant despite the changes in their coat. For example, their eyes have a walnut shape, and just as their coat, it comes in a variety of colors among which are yellow, gold, aqua, blue, copper, and even green. The head is somewhat similar to her body which is longer than her width and is wedge-shaped, the ears which are the most distinctive feature of the breed at the tip bend backward making an arc of about 90┬░. It is important to point out that American Curl kittens are not born with this alteration, in fact it is something that starts to be noticed after approximately 3 weeks of age and, as it is well described in its history, not all Curl kittens have this phenotypical characteristic. Not only do they have this shape in their ears, they are usually very hairy, no matter how long their hair is, unlike their tail, which is usually hairy to the point that it does not look so swollen in the short haired version.

Well, as for the presentation of his coat, from the beginning, Shulamith was a long-haired stray cat but her kittens were short-haired and with a different color, which opened the way to so many varieties as for the presentation of the breed. So, again as it was mentioned in its history, maybe this is the reason why the American Curl is the only breed registered with a long and short coat, rather than its long coat. Further, according to some authors, is considered more like a semi-long one and both presentations have a double layer. Its coat is usually described as silky no matter how long it is but the short one some owners agree is a softer and plushy coat compared to the long one. In the long or semi-long coat the undercoat is quite short, almost minimal which may well be the reason why it does not appear to be longer as other breeds and why it does not get to shed as much hair. Although in molting season if it is something that is going to be noticed more and tends to be somewhat annoying to many owners. Moreover, the short hair of the Curl can also be misleading as breeders or enthusiasts of the breed have commented that short hair has a higher shedding rate than long or semi-long hair. 

The coloring and patterns of the breed do not maintain a standard which could be beneficial for some and for others it may be a bit annoying, not everyone can be happy. It may be better for those who are looking for a specific pattern, or mix of colors. However, there may be some who would prefer it to have something more common, or typical of the breed that could make it more special. Some shades are usually rare in themselves, but I will leave it up to each reader to decide how important this is. Regardless of the color and length of your American Curl kitten’s hair, you will get the same benefits since what matters and stands out from this mustached companion is his splendid personality. 

The shade in its hair as I have already mentioned throughout the article, you’ve got the pick of the litter, so you can look for that combination that you like so much or just adopt the one you like best from the new litter of Curl kittens. Some examples I can share you have some patterns like pointed with white, tabby, bicolor, tricolor, chinchilla, smoke, etc.

PURRSONALITY

It is somewhat difficult for me to find a word to describe this wonderful and unique feline, plus some good way to start talking about his very loving and special personality. From the beginning, it was said that Shulamith impressed his new owners with his calm temperament, and not only how he came to adapt to his new home. But also the short time it took him to make this transition. American Curls are curious cats, which will not be a surprise for many. Besides this, they are very similar to the Abyssinian cat as they have a similar attitude to a dog. By this I mean that they will greet you at the door waiting for you to tell them how your day went. They will follow you around the house watching everything you do, inspecting everything where it can stick its nose, and even learning to play fetch. In case it bothers you to have your pet on your back most of the time, you don’t have to worry about it either. Even though the Curl cat is always looking to be close to a human or family companion it doesn’t mean that it is considered a lap cat, they will simply want to be close to you and not on you, but I understand that there may be humans that don’t like this type of behavior and for them, there are other breeds that are more independent that can better adjust to your lifestyle. An American Curl kitten will fit into your new family environment and not only will it get along with the whole family but it is an excellent pet for those households that already have another four-legged companion (which are usually the most common). 

Additionally, another aspect that can be a great relief for many owners is that this breed is not usually so talkative, which means that it is considered as a cat that you will rarely hear meowing. Only in those moments when it is necessary to express something like asking for food, looking for some attention, or maybe he will answer something you are saying, maybe when he welcomes you at home he will do it with a meow or a head nod. This type of attitude will apply even to home visits so you won’t have to worry much unless one of those strange humans doesn’t feel comfortable with a cat. As it usually happens with small humans, they tend to be more active and devious than those who are called adults, kittens usually have this same behavior, only there are cases like the American Curl where he will keep this energy and attitude no matter how much time goes by or how old he is, he will always receive and follow in a good way any kind of game you start with him. They like to climb so a cat tree would be a good option among all the others you will have at your disposal to provide your new pet not only space but the accessories or tools needed to entertain both during the absence of all the family and to share with them this type of activity.

Trying to put it all together, the American Curl is a breed that is extremely loving and a little demanding of attention but it will not go to such an extreme that it becomes annoying, it will simply demand a little more than the minimum that should be offered to any pet. They get along well with other pets and small humans but you must be careful with those youngsters that have no manners and can greatly alter the peace of your Curl cat. They are active, curious, and intelligent, which can be a great benefit for certain things but not for everything. Being curious can lead them to places and even open things up where they shouldn’t be sticking their noses in the first place. Therefore, you should be careful what you leave within their reach. Being a loyal, loving, playful, and adaptable pet, he has many aspects that will most likely fit into a large number of homes. As an advice, you must always make sure you can provide him with everything he needs to keep him happy and give him the quality of life he so richly deserves. 

HEALTH & CARE   

Picture from Catster

The health of your pet is something extremely important and you should not neglect it at all. The American Curl is exposed to practically the same diseases as any other breed, it is still a living being and cats have certain diseases that are more common than in other pets. However, there are several things to take into consideration before jumping to any conclusions about the health of the Curl cat. First of all, it is important to understand that it is a relatively new breed, so there are very few records or findings of any specific pathology. The second but not the least important thing is the reason why they have a very distinctive appearance and it is because of a genetic alteration. Other breeds share this aspect of featuring a genetic alteration, but there are a few cases where this ends up being something quite bad for the breed and affects the quality of life. One of them is one that I have already mentioned, the Scottish Fold, and another one that may resemble it a little is the Munchkin cat. Hereditary diseases or genetic predispositions are something that all living beings are exposed to, but this peculiarity or constant gene may trigger other changes in its genes that could well harm this breed, especially the Curl kittens.

Kittens are the most likely to present and/or express some genetic pathology as they usually develop within the first months of life or even from the moment of birth. Until now, in the case of American Curls, it has only been reported that some of them have a smaller ear canal than normal, which makes them more prone to suffer from otitis due to the accumulation of cerumen because they do not have the same capacity as a normal domestic cat. I do not comment on all this as to want to sentence this breed, really the only thing that can determine the future of this feline is time itself. Otherwise, I do not think there is anything else that can be done about it. Maybe there will be a change for the worse or the better, nobody knows, but it is just an idea to keep in mind. Again, the breed tends to have a fairly healthy life and there is almost nothing to worry about.

From everything else, with something as simple as good management of your pet you will be able to avoid or keep away any disease that may come to develop. Starting with the oral hygiene of your Curl, as well as cleaning their ears, combing their hair to keep it in the best possible condition, but in itself thanks to the undercoat being so short it helps to prevent knots or tangles. These small details, in the long run, will help you prevent various complications, they are daily or weekly tasks that do not take up so much of your time and it is not something that will cost you either. The same goes for his diet and weight management. Some long-haired pets tend to fool the eye into thinking that they are bigger or have gained more weight or the opposite that owners trust themselves and think that their “build” is because of their long hair. Do not forget, the best thing to do in these cases is to visit your vet. As a result, he will help you and teach you how to take care of your cat, keep track of her vaccinations and deworming, advise you on what food to feed her depending on her needs and even the breeder plays an important role in your pet’s health because he can tell you if there are any changes or problems between the litter or the parents. 

Some will think that this is illogical as it could drive away any customer, but the ones you should be wary of are those who tell you that everything is fine and that their pets are perfect in every way, even worse if they tell you that they have no record or way to prove this to you. A reputable breeder who cares about every life of the litter, even if he has had so many before, each new one is as special as the last. 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The curves of the American Curl will surely make anyone fall in love. Their personality is what stands out in this breed even though their ears are what are most in plain sight, but many know that what counts is what they have inside. They are an excellent pet for the family environment, loyal, active, and playful until the end of their days. If you think you have what it takes to raise one of these wonderful creatures, an American Curl Kitten will undoubtedly be one of the best acquisitions your home will ever have.

I hope this guide about the American Curl cat has been useful and you like it. If you think I missed something or have any questions, please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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